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According to Statista, companies in the US alone handle over 5.56 trillion ton-miles of transportation of goods each year.

And it’s not just the volume that’s difficult for companies to manage. Increasing customer demands like same-day delivery make shipment logistics more challenging than ever.

Without the right processes and software in place, your company will struggle to meet rising customer expectations, and lose market share in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

We’ll dive deep into shipment logistics and how to optimize it within your company, speed up your deliveries, improve efficiency, and save money in the process.

To navigate to the section which interests you the most, click below:

What Is Shipment Logistics?

Logistics is the process of storing, warehousing, transporting, and distributing raw materials or products within a company or to customers.

Shipment logistics is essentially the process of storing, packing, shipping, and monitoring a single package throughout the whole supply chain.

Let’s take a closer look at what this entails.

What’s Involved in Shipment Logistics?

If your company sells made-to-order products, a single shipment may include both inbound and outbound logistics.

From arranging transportation of the necessary goods from your supplier, completing the customizations, and then delivering the product to your customer’s door.

The level of your involvement depends on whether you use 3PL (third-party logistics) for last-mile delivery or not.

This seems like a simple process if you only have a handful of customers, but it gets a lot more complicated as the volume increases.

What Is the Difference Between Shipping and Logistics?

Shipping is the transportation of goods or products from point of origin to destination, which is an important part of logistics as well.

The difference between the two is that shipping only encompasses the transportation of goods, while logistics also includes:

  • Storing and warehousing
  • Sourcing of raw materials
  • Packaging
  • Customs brokerage
  • Intermodal freight planning
  • Air freight monitoring
  • Etc.

As a part of supply chain management, logistics is the area covering everything involving the storage and movement of goods.

Let’s take a closer look at how the very best manage both these areas.

Amazon’s Secrets to Speeding Up Shipment Logistics

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With free same-day delivery (even for orders as late as noon), Amazon has been able to conquer millions of loyal customers around the world.

There are over 112 million Prime members in the United States alone, almost a third of the whole population. Needless to say, shipping and delivery matters a lot to your customers.

But how does Amazon manage to send billions of shipments each year without missing a beat?

Let’s take a closer look at their logistics operations.

Network of distribution centers in strategic locations

Amazon has 110 full-fledged warehouses (fulfillment centers, as Amazon likes to call them) in the US alone.

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These don’t just act as warehouses, but as efficient distribution centers in strategic locations that help them keep transit times to a minimum.

So what’s the takeaway here, that you need a billion-dollar budget to compete?

Not really.

If you’re working on a different scale, you can still make moves to imitate Amazon. For example you can outsource delivery in certain parts of the country to third-party logistics services.

Using robots to improve efficiency

Since 2014, Amazon has introduced over 100,000 robots to help automate and speed up repetitive tasks in their warehouses.

Don’t worry, they’re not like the set of I, Robot yet and you don’t need a trillion dollars to implement a similar system. A smart picking system and AI-powered wheeled carts help warehouse workers work more efficiently.

On a smaller scale, you can implement tools to help your pickers work faster.

Constantly testing and improving their logistics process

Instead of settling and focusing on simply “getting more customers in the door,” Amazon understands the value of improving every part of their supply chain.

“With the millions of items that we ship, every opportunity to improve a process by a second is relevant,” Dave Alperson, Regional Director of Operations, Amazon Indiana, said in an interview with Quartz.

One of the main results of their testing is the “random system” where products are stored in various locations, rather than in huge batches or categories. It’s a lot more efficient for pickers to complete and package an order, than bulk storage along logical categories.

Of course, not every company is the largest shipper in the US with billions to tackle their logistics issues.

But there are affordable software solutions on the market that can improve your operation’s efficiency, whether you’re a nation-wide LTL carrier, or local florist.

How to Optimize Your Shipment Logistics with OptimoRoute

Whether you have a delivery fleet of hundreds of trucks, or a small-scale local operation, OptimoRoute can help you improve the efficiency of both your dispatchers and your drivers.

Below, we cover just a few of the smart features that help our clients revolutionize their logistics.

Import orders in bulk and plan more efficient shipping routes in seconds

Are your dispatchers spending hours manually drafting routes for each of your drivers every day?

That’s about to change.

Once you’ve set up your driver settings (like service areas, schedules, break times), and vehicle settings (truckload capacity, capabilities), OptimoRoute takes care of the rest.

You can now simply import your order sheet, and the route planner will distribute the orders based on estimated delivery times, and plan the ideal routes for each driver. 

Each route considers driver service areas, delivery time windows, vehicle capacity, and other real-world variables.

OptimoRoute Planning Routes

Save time on planning, mileage on driving, and improve the overall efficiency of your delivery operation to improve your bottom line.

Easily adjust to last-minute orders and cancellations with dynamic replanning

Without a system in place, manually handling a last-minute order or cancellation is incredibly challenging.

With dynamic replanning, you can easily fit new orders into existing schedules, and even export the new order lists directly to your drivers’ mobile phones.

This will help you remain flexible, and eliminate missed deadlines as a result of slow rescheduling.

Reduce failed deliveries and delight customers with real-time order tracking

Research by IMRG and NetDespatch shows that failed deliveries cost $2.17 billion per year. 

To save wasted gas and driver wages, you must ensure as many successful deliveries as possible.

That’s why OptimoRoute provides real-time order tracking and notifications over email and SMS.

OptimoRoute’s Real Time Order Tracking

If your customers know exactly when the delivery is coming in advance, they’ll be available when the package arrives.

Track and improve entire operations with detailed analytics

If you choose to use the driver app, OptimoRoute offers real-time tracking and analytics of each driver’s performance.

From top performing drivers, to vehicle utilization, packages, pallets or other units moved per truck every day, and more.

Managers can also access important performance metrics like on-time delivery rates, average delay times, and more.

Think of OptimoRoute as your JARVIS, the real brains of your logistics operations.

Help your business meet seasonal demands with flexibility and scalability

Our software doesn’t just help giant e-commerce or trucking companies.

Any company that struggles to keep up with deliveries during spiked holiday demand can benefit.

The Little Posy Co is the perfect example of that. With OptimoRoute, they easily scaled from 20 to 60 drivers, and handled over 1,000 orders (5x their normal demand) without issue.

“OptimoRoute has changed the impossible to the absolutely possible on Valentine’s Day. It takes the pressure off—I could not fathom how the workflow could function so smoothly without this piece of software.” Gabby Maynard, Operations Manager, Little Posy Co.

To see how OptimoRoute can transform your shipping and logistics processes, start your 30-day free trial today.